Severi Keinälä talks about preparing the Finland pavilion for the extension period, as well as COVID-19 challenges
Finland has confirmed that they have completed about 90% of the construction on its Expo 2020 Dubai pavilion – Snow Cape – and have prepared the structure for the extension period. Remaining construction activity including the interior fit-out work is scheduled to resume in April 2021.
Located within the Expo 2020 Dubai’s Mobility District, the concept, design, planning and execution of the pavilion have been undertaken by Finland-based JKMM Architects and Swiss construction specialist, Expomobilia. Snow Cape is an amalgamation of Arabic and Finish culture, and will resemble a white tent made of snow.
Severi Keinälä, Commissioner General of Finland at Expo 2020 Dubai said that their decision to postpone the final construction elements was to ensure that the pavilion will open with a fresh look for visitors in October 2021.
“In particular, the exterior membrane of the pavilion will be added closer to the opening date, as this white surface is what will bring our Snow Cape to life. Once construction resumes next year, our touchless KONE elevators and sliding doors will be installed, and preparations will begin on the exhibition space and interior design,” he said.
“Before the final decision was announced, we had already started adapting and taking steps such as thinking about which elements had to be completed now, and which elements can be done next year. We also slowed down the construction period and discussed with Expomobilia on what we can do to save costs and started minimising additional costs from the beginning itself by good cooperation,” Keinälä said to MECN.
He added that work on the pavilion will resume from April 2021, but till then air conditioning and other monitoring systems will be running, to address weather conditions which might result in mould or mildew inside the building.
“To my knowledge, we are among the first of the country pavilions to pause construction on the shell and core of the structure. Not only that, but we have already sourced the materials required to restart work next year; for instance, the fabric required for the outside membrane is already with us, ready to be installed.”
Keinälä added that COVID-19 brought about other changes as well. He said that KONE’s People Flow analysis tool was already used in designing the Finnish pavilion, but notes that now they have taken the same device and with the help of a digital twin will run simulations on people coming and going to adhere to social distancing rules.
“We are also looking at implementing a disinfectant function with our light installation; it has been approved and tested, but we are working on integrating it into the system. We will also provide a natural disinfectant made from the sap of a spruce tree, for hand sanitation as well as use the same to sanitise surfaces,” he concluded.